A common bond of loss Reunion of two friends, Sharing what we did in our lives Our new-found friendship grew. We knew what was before us We were not blind Optimistic attitudes, nevertheless This was our time. A getaway from a re-constructing life A world just beginning to know, again A welcome distraction, change at its best Fun, laughter, carefree adventure. For him, a chance for another To love and be loved Not recognizing his desires of Missing his Tammy, so. Seeing some of what our country has to offer Beautiful mountains majesty RV camping perhaps my favorite As it reminded me of my camping youth. He thinks I helped him through it all Until I could no more His family rallied to his side Our memories safely in store. What he may or may not have realized I do wonder, is how he guided me To discover what is truly important to me And, that is a treasure, for sure. Frozen in time to the reality of this loss Loved ones left to pick up the pieces An awkward serene of silence around me I write this poem in his honor. He is safely home now Suffering has come to an end So brave and noble his fight His gallant battle lost. I will miss my relentless friend Forty-six years ago lost and recently found I thank you, John for your last dance A friendship to which I am forever bound. ~
College dance, circa 1975 (from my Mom’s scrap book.) John relocated to continue his studies in Alabama, I stayed local whereupon our lives took us to our professions, marriages and children.
Durags for all modeled here at Cleveland Clinic and at home. Also, Canal Side in Buffalo, Ohio car show, French Lick Resort in Indiana, Gatlinburg, Tennessee, we trooped around.
Beautiful, beautiful Smokey Mountains in Tennessee
a sample of John’s family gatherings where I was lovingly included these last few months
in the doorway of that darn camper I loved
Bedford, Indiana . . the last time I was to see John, just five days before writing this.
John was diagnosed with a very rare skin cancer called Angiosarcoma of the scalp. So rare, there is very little data on best practice treatment. John was treated at Cleveland Clinic as well as facilities closer to his home, would ask questions and many times those questions were left unanswered simply because of the rarity of this horrific disease. He underwent unheard of extensive surgeries, chemo rounds, radiation, immunotherapy and remained amazingly independent through it all up until his last 24 hours. A battle that was just short of ten months from diagnosis and, all that just a year after he lost his wife to brain cancer, he endured. Never wanting to ask for help, he was stubbornly optimistic. He passed away peacefully and comfortably surrounded by his family. We will all miss his zest for life.
Rest in peace, my good friend. 9/25/55 – 3/17/22
He asked me if I would be writing about him, here. I guess now he knows.